KEELY LOVERN — The sweet smell of warm candles and coffee hits your nose as the front door swings opens. You pick up a cookie while a friendly “hello” jingles in your ear.
Tucked next to the Verizon store and only feet from the IGA, Real Deals on Home Décor + Boutique, or Real Deals for short, is what Eliza Budd ’18 calls the “hidden gem of Granville.”
“It reminds me of a HGTV magazine except way better,” says Budd, “It’s just the cutest little place and they have everything.”
Real Deals seems to be Granville’s best kept secret to Denison students living up on the hill, but owner and retail therapist, Michele Koester, doesn’t want it to be a secret anymore.
From clothing to furniture and everything in between, Koester thinks Denison students could really use a lot of the items in the store.
“We have handbags, shoes, jewelry and clothing for all kinds of occasions,” she said, with a warm smile on her face. “Really there is something for everyone here.”
Koester brought Real Deals to Granville in 2012, starting with a small location near the highway where it was only open for 2 to 3 days a week. In May 2017, the store moved to its new location, which opened at 1919 Lancaster Road – adding two floors of merchandise, more open hours and a fresh look to the store.
As a Granville resident and mother of four, Koester runs her store with family in mind, and always wants Denison students to feel welcome.
“I think Denison makes up our town and they are a great asset,” Koester said, “so anything we can do to welcome the students here I think is important. They need to feel like this is their home too.”
The 22-year-old Melissa Kerr has been working at Real Deals for almost three months now and thinks that it is a great place for college students to shop, especially for clothes.
“There’s just such variety and trendy styles,” she said, “it’s all clothing that I can definitely see Denison students wearing.”
As a recent college graduate, Melissa also understands that price is a factor for students but emphasized the store’s large sale rack that it is re-stocked often. Koester also appreciates the college-student-budget and reassures that they try to keep the prices as low as they can.
“And now until the end of May we are offering 15% off for Denison students if they show their student ID,” she said.
Real Deals changes their inventory weekly to keep up with the latest trends, like Free People clothing, which Koester says is always popular with customers.
“A lot of people think they have to go to Newark to find cute clothes and gifts,” said Budd, “but Real Deals is a perfect place right here in town.”
Prat Iyer ’18 has been to the store quite a few times since her start at Denison.
“I love the ambiance,” she said, “and the people who work there are super friendly.”
Iyer says she loves the store’s candles and jewelry, and adds that Real Deals is “probably the best place to get gifts in Granville.”
The store has some great events coming up where you can save money and help the environment. April 12 through April 14 will be a tax-free weekend, an event set by the Ohio government. On April 26 through April 28 the store will be giving away starter trees with every purchase in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day. And lastly, Mother’s Day weekend will be celebrated with a succulent bar on May 12 where you can plant live succulents in decorative cups and other items.
Michele Koester spoke with a heartfelt smile on her face. “We love our new location and we love being in Granville,” she said, “We always have coffee and cookies. Please come visit us!”
The store’s hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
You can find Real Deals on their website and social media to see all the latest merchandise, deals and upcoming events.
Facebook: Real Deals on Home Décor + Boutique – Granville
Instagram: realdealsgranville